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Natural Cures for Autumn Woes - Cold and Flu

Looking for an effective way to prevent and treat colds and flu? Try these two effective herbs: astragalus and echinacea. Taking two capsules of astragalus (Astragalus membranaceous) - an herb from traditional Chinese medicine - twice a day (unless the product directs otherwise) can help strengthen and support the immune system. Look for astragalus products standardized to 16-percent polysaccharides.


Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea) helps treat colds, flu, sore throat, and other common infections. Available as tinctures, extracts, capsules and tablets, take two capsules of freeze-dried extract four times a day or a dropperful of tincture, in water, four times a day at the first sign of an illness coming on. Look for combination echinacea products (containing both angustifolia and purpurea species) standardized to four-percent echinacosides.


Healthy Holiday Table: Broccoli

I have long recommended broccoli as part of an every day healthful diet, in part due to its health benefits. Broccoli may help protect against cancer, heart disease, cataracts and birth defects, while promoting a healthy immune system and gastrointestinal and bone health. A member of the cabbage family, broccoli is also a good source of vitamins A, C, K and calcium. One of the healthiest ways to prepare broccoli for a holiday meal is to lightly steam it, which can help to retain nutrients better than other methods, such as boiling.


For more information on healthful foods, visit Dr. Weil’s Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid.



What is Firewalking?

Firewalking has been practiced for centuries by shamans, priests and ordinary folk as a religious ritual and as a healing ceremony. Firewalkers walk barefoot over beds of red-hot coals, which are usually between eight and 12 feet long and range from 1,200 to 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit, hot enough to cause third-degree burns. Over the years a number of skeptics have come up with various theories about why firewalkers don't get burned, but the fact is that some people do get burned. The difference between those who do well and those who suffer injury has much to do with states of consciousness. If you're interested in this experience, seek out classes conducted by Certified F.I.R.E. Instructors - do not try firewalking on your own! When you succeed, you'll join the ranks of firewalkers through the ages who have been empowered and enlightened by the experience.


4 Healthy Holiday Eating Tips

The holiday season seems to revolve around friends, family and food - and while all three are wonderful, it’s easy to overindulge in the latter. Help make this season a healthful one, with these four healthy eating tips, courtesy of Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging:

  1. Plan your day. When you wake, think about all the gatherings and festivities you may be attending, and plan your eating around your functions. Resolve to eat healthfully and in moderation throughout the day, focusing on fresh, whole foods that are high in fiber and low in fat and calories. This will help to balance out any rich, high-calorie foods you may be served later. And don't skimp on breakfast or lunch in preparation for a holiday dinner - you'll be ravenous and prone to overindulge by the time you sit down to eat.
  2. Be aware of the nutritional value of different foods. A plate with some lean protein, steamed broccoli, and a scoop of mashed potatoes is a relatively healthy option. But pouring gravy over the whole plate turns it into a high-fat, high-calorie meal.
  3. Watch your alcohol consumption. Alcohol itself has calories, and mixing it with soda or juice adds even more. Limit these and other sweet drinks such as eggnog, and stick to a glass of wine or two (or volunteer to be the designated driver and enjoy sparkling water throughout the evening) to help minimize calories.
  4. Portion out your foods. Limit fried or creamy appetizers, sauces, high-calorie side dishes, and desserts, and instead focus on whole foods, lean meats, and vegetables and fruits.
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